Atisha: The Bodhisattva’s Jewel Mala


The Bodhisattva’s Jewel Malaa
A Bodhisattva’s Garland of Gems
by Lama Atisha

1 Abandon all doubt,

And earnestly apply yourself to practice.

Abandon laziness, dullness and drowsiness,
And always cultivate joyous effort.
With mindfulness, alertness and conscientiousness
Protect the doors of the senses at all times.

During the three times of day and night
Check your mental continuum again and again

Proclaim your own faults,
But do not look for the mistakes of others.

Hide your own good qualities,
But proclaim the good qualities of others.

Abandon wealth and honors,
And reject profit and reputation always.

15 Desire little, be content,
And be grateful to those who show you kindness.

Meditating on compassion and loving kindness,
Firmly establish bodhicitta.

Abandon the ten non-virtues,
And firmly establish continuous faith.

Overcome pride and anger,
And have a humble mind.

Abandon wrong livelihoods,
And live a life of Dharma.

25 Abandon all worldly objects,
And wear the jewels of the Aryas.

Abandon all entertainment,
And live in solitary places.

Abandon all misleading and meaningless talk,
And always control your speech.

When you see your spiritual teacher or ordination master,
Attend him or her with respect.

With sentient beings who are beginners
And with beings who possess the Dharma eye,
Generate the perception of them as teachers.

When you see all sentient beings,
Generate the perception of them as your parents and children.

Abandon friends who influence you negatively,
And rely on the virtuous spiritual friend.

40 Abandon the mind of unhappiness and aversion,
And go everywhere with happiness.

Abandon attachment to everything,
And remain without attachment.

Also, because of attachment, you will not obtain a good rebirth,
and will be cut off from the life of liberation.

Wherever you see virtuous Dharma,
Always put your effort there.

Whatever you have begun,
Accomplish that first.
Do everything properly like this;
Otherwise, nothing will be accomplished.

Be free of any liking for negativity;
Whenever an arrogant mind arises,
Flatten pride
And remember the advice of your lama.

When a discouraged mind arises,
Praise the sublimity of the mind.

Meditate on the emptiness of both.

Whenever objects of attachment and aversion arise
See them as illusions and emanations.

When you hear offensive talk
Regard it as an echo.

When your body is injured,
Regard this as the result of your previous actions.

65 Live well in solitary places at the edge of towns.
Like a wounded deer,
Hiding yourself, alone,
Dwell without attachment.

Firmly rely on your yidam at all times,
And when the mind of laziness and indifference arises,
Enumerate these faults to yourself
And ponder them with regret in your heart.

When you see others,
Speak calmly, kindly and sincerely
Avoid frowning, closed expressions,
And abide always with a smile.

Continually, when you see others,
Delight in giving without miserliness.
Abandon all jealousy.

80 To protect the minds of others,
Abandon all contention,
And have patience at all times.

Without flattery and without fickle infatuation,
Be grounded and steadfast always.

85 Abandon contempt for others,
And preserve a respectful manner.

When giving counsel to others
Have compassion and the wish to be of benefit.
Without criticizing any Dharma teachings,
Let others aspire to whichever they are drawn to,
And through the door of the ten Dharma practices
Exert yourself through the day and half the night.

Whatever virtue you accumulate during the three times,
Dedicate to the highest, great enlightenment.
Give away your merit to sentient beings.

Continually offer the seven limb practice
And the great aspirational prayers.

If you practice this way, you will complete
The two accumulations of wisdom and positive potential.

100 Also, the two kinds of obscurations will be exhausted,
And fulfilling the purpose of obtaining a human rebirth,
The highest enlightenment will be obtained.

The jewel of faith and the jewel of ethical discipline,
The jewel of giving and the jewel of hearing,
The jewels of personal integrity and of consideration for others,
The jewel of supreme wisdom:
These seven sacred jewels,
Seven inexhaustible treasures,
Are meaningless to negative spirits.

110 Examine your speech when among many.
Examine your mind when alone.

Written by the glorious master of India, Dipankara, Heart of Perfect Wisdom, Illuminator Who is Entirely Good. Thus, “The Jewel Mala of the Bodhisattva” is complete.

A translation for Dharma Friendship Foundation on the occasion of Geshe Yeshe Tobden’s teachings on the text

Translation from the Tibetan by Jesse Fenton, Nov. 1997, Seattle, under the guidance of Geshe Yeshe Tobden;
Thanks to Ven. Lobsang Yeshe and Ven. Thubten Chodron for their kind corrections.

Atisha: A Bodhisattva’s Garland of Gems

I make prostration to great compassion. I make prostration to the sublime teachers. I make prostration to the Buddha-figures, those in whom to have belief.

(1) Let me rid myself of all indecisive wavering and cherish being wholeheartedly earnest in my practice. So, let me rid myself fully of being sleepy, foggy-minded, and lazy, and always make effort with perseverance.

(2) Let me always safeguard the gateway of my senses with mindfulness, alertness, and care. So, let me check repeatedly the flow of my mind, three times each day and each night.

(3) Let me make my own failings be known and seek not mistakes in others. So, let me keep my own good qualities hidden and make the good qualities of others be known.

(4) Let me rid myself of (desire for) material gain and honor and always rid myself of (desire for) profit and fame. So, let me have few desires, be content, and show appreciation for the kind acts that’ve been done.

(5) Let me meditate on love and compassion and stabilize my bodhichitta aim. So, let me rid myself of the ten destructive actions and make myself stable, always, with belief in fact.

(6) Let me overcome rage and pride and come to have an attitude of humility. So, let me rid myself of dishonest ways of living and make my living with a livelihood that accords with the Dharma.

(7) Let me rid myself of all material burdens and adorn myself with an aryas’ gems. So, let me rid myself of all bustling activities and live in seclusion.

(8) Let me rid myself of idle words and always restrain my speech. So, when I see a sublime teacher or learned master, let me extend my service with respect.

(9) As for persons with the eye of the Dharma and limited beings who are beginners, let me expand my discernment of them as my teachers.

(10) Whenever I see any limited beings, let me expand my discernment of them as my father, my mother, my child or grandchild. So, let me rid myself of misleading friends and entrust myself to spiritual friends.

(11) Let me rid myself of hostility and uneasy mental states, and go happily everywhere. So, let me rid myself of whatever I’m attached to and live without attachments.

(12) With attachment, I won’t attain even a happy rebirth and I’ll cut off the life of my liberation, in fact. So, wherever I see a Dharma measure (for bringing) happiness, let me exert effort always in that.

(13) Whatever I’ve undertaken to start with, let me accomplish that very thing first. Everything, this way, will get accomplished well; otherwise, neither will come about.

(14) While still acting always negatively and parted from joy, when a feeling of superiority arises about anything, let me cut off my pride and remember my sublime teacher’s guideline instructions.

(15) And when a feeling of discouragement arises, let me praise the glories of the mind and meditate on the voidness of both (states).

(16) Whenever an object of attachment or hostility arises in any situation, let me regard it like an illusion or a projection; whenever I hear unpleasant words, let me regard them like an echo; and whenever harm happens to my body, let me regard it as (coming from) my previous karma.

(17) Let me step up to living in a sequestered place, outside the limits (of any town), and, like a corpse of a dead game animal, hide myself in solitude, and live without attachments.

(18) (There,) let me always be stable with my Buddha-figure and whenever a feeling of laziness or the draw of entertainment arises, let me enumerate my own shortcomings and remind myself of the essential points of taming behavior.

(19) But if I happen to see others, let me speak calmly, gently, and sincerely, rid myself of any frowns or closed-off expressions, and always keep a smile.

(20) And when I’m continually seeing others, let me not be miserly, but take joy in giving, and rid myself of all envy.

(21) In order to safeguard the minds of others, let me rid myself of all contention and always have patient tolerance.

(22) Let me not be fawning, nor fickle in friendship, but rather always stay faithful. Let me rid myself of insulting others, and keep a respectful manner. Then, when imparting guideline instructions to others, let me have compassion and a mind to help.

(23) Let me never deny the Dharma and, setting my intention on whichever ones I fervently admire, let me make effort to split my days and nights (passing) through the gateways of the ten Dharma acts.

(24) Let me dedicate to great peerless enlightenment as many constructive acts as I’ve amassed throughout the three times, and extend out to limited beings my positive force. So, let me always offer the great prayer of the seven-limb practice.

(25) Doing like that, let me complete my two networks of positive force and deep awareness, and deplete my two obscurations as well. Thus, making my attainment of a human body meaningful, let me attain a peerless enlightenment.

(26) The gem of belief in fact, the gem of ethical self-discipline, the gem of generosity, the gem of listening, the gems of care for how my actions reflect on others and of moral self-dignity, and the gem of discriminating awareness make seven.

(27) These sacred gems are the seven gems that will never deplete. They must not be mentioned to quasi-humans.

(28) When in the midst of many, let me keep a check on my speech; when remaining alone, let me keep a check on my mind.

Byang-chub sems-dpa’i nor-bu’i phreng-ba,” Skt. “Bodhisattva-mani-avali” by Atisha (Dipamkara Shrijnana), translated by Alexander Berzin.